Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Churches of the Tri-Counties Area
Chemung County NY
Park Church, Elmira, Chemung County NY
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Postcards from Joyce's Collection
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Forty members of the Presbyterian Church objecting to pro-slavery preaching gave The Park Church its start.  These forty were strong Abolitionists, some of them aiding the Underground Railway station in Elmira.  In order to foster their beliefs on this burning issue they left their church and founded on January 2, 1846, The First Independent Congregational Church.  In 1871 it became The Park Church in Elmira.  Among the charter members wee the names of six family alignments; John Selover, Elnathan Green; David Young, Mrs. John Selover, Mrs. Cornelia Young and Mrs. Jane Green.  All were close church friends including Jervis Langdon, whose son-in-law was Samuel L. Clemens, writer Mark Twain.  However nobly the little church was begun, during the first four years three ministers and a layman followed each other in rapid succession as pastors.  But the struggling abolitionist church held on because of a small core group of five laymen and in 1854 Reverend Thomas K. Beecher became its minister and continued until his death in 1900.

Postcards show Park Church in summer and winter.
Thomas Beecher is shown in a stereoscopic view above.
His statue (left) remains by Park Church. 
 Subj:  Charter members, The Park Church, Elmira
Date:  01/10/2004 7:49:38 AM Eastern Standard Time
From:  NiniAndr
To:  JoyceTice

I recently purchased the "Centennial Album, Published during the One Hundreth Year of the Park Church in Elmira, New York, 1946." On page 50 there is a list of the charter Park Church members. I noticed that on the Tri-Counties web site there is a reference to those members, but no names. Here is the list shown in the above album:

                           CHARTER MEMBERS
John Selover            H. N. Comstock             Mrs. Mary A. Smith
Thomas Day            Jeremiah Hedges           Mrs. Sarah A. Tillotson
Silas Billings              Ira Gould                   Mrs. I. P. Wilcox
Hezekiah Whittelsey       Albert M. Potter             Mrs. Harriet Holden
Stephen Hanford             Jervis Langdon              Mrs. Bethany Hanford
Abraham DeLabar           Augustus F. Holt           Mrs. Emeline Hanford
Norman Smith            Hiram Crafts              Mrs. Lucy A. Day
Joshua Cleeves          Mrs. C. B. Andrus           Mrs. Elizabeth Cleeves
S. G. Andrus              Mrs. Nancy W. Robinson    Miss Sarah A. Andrus
Philander Rexford            Mrs. John Selover          Miss Mary Hubbard
John M. Robinson           Mrs. Ira Gould               Miss Martha Tompkins
Elnathan G. Green          Mrs. Cornelia Young            Miss Abby W. Cleeves
G. A. Gridley            Mrs. Martha Hedges       Mrs. Elizabeth Potter
Thomas B. Covell            Mrs. Emily Johnson        Mrs. Olivia Langdon
Henry Hanford          Mrs. Catherine Rexford         Mrs. Augustus Holt
David Young             Mrs. Abby Covell            Miss Azuba Whittlesey
                           Mrs. Jane Green

In 1994, Gretchen Sharlow, then Director of the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies, sent me copies of parts of the original member register of Park Church, curtesy of Mr. Ray Hebb of Park Church. (I have copies of only those parts which included individuals I had named in a query to Park Church,) The list shown in the album above is in the exact order of the parts of the register copies I have. The male charter members were admitted January 5, 1846. A separate register for women has the female charter members admitted January 3, 1846.

I thought you might like to add the above list to the Park Church link.

Cornelia Andrus

Hi Joyce,
   I just discovered the great page that you've put together of Park Church post cards and the list of the charter members of Park Church.  I'd like to suggest one correction - Hiram Crane not Craft.  I am familiar with Hiram Crane because he was the father of Theodore Crane, the husband of  Susan Langdon Crane.   Hiram Crane and his wife Anna Crane are buried in the Second Street cemetery.Hiram Crane, like Jervis Langdon was one of Elmira's early lumber merchants.  Hope this note is helpful for your work.  Happy New Year, Gretchen Sharlow
Chemung County NY

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 18 SEP 2003
By Joyce M. Tice

You are our welcome visitor 18 SEP 2003